Yes, you can take community action!

1st February 2017 •   posted in

So… you want to take action in your local community to reduce alcohol harm?  Well, here’s some good news and a great blueprint for changing local community cultural norms by challenging community beliefs.

The good is news comes from research into under-age drinking.  Every three years the Australian Department of Health commissions a study called the Australian secondary students’ alcohol and drug survey (ASSAD). (for more look here, here, here and here)

When we look more closely at the results around alcohol the proportion of 12-17 year olds reporting never to have drunk alcohol is increasing while the proportion who used alcohol in the past year or past month is decreasing.

These results are great news but a recent study (read it here) of a social marketing intervention in an Australian regional area discussed some of these results and the fact that young people, their parents and community members generally continue to believe that excessive adolescent drinking is normal.  The belief in this norm places pressure on young people to drink alcohol and on parents to supply alcohol.  Parents believe that by not supplying alcohol to their children will lead to their children’s social exclusion.

The intervention targeted young people, their parents and general community members via posters, print resources, workshops, news and editorials, advertisements in the local newspaper, stickers on wheelie bins, a Facebook page and a one term social norm curriculum delivered at school.  The purpose of the intervention was to correct the misconceptions of young people’s alcohol habits, reinforcing that “problem” alcohol consumption by young people happened not just to “other” families but all families, that the whole community had a responsibility to be concerned about underage drinking and to strengthen and empower the community to be active in supporting young people not to drink.

The great outcome of the intervention was a shift in the community social norms around alcohol consumption and parental supply.

So… do you think one or more of these activities might work for your community?

So… do you think one or more of these activities might work for your community?  Tell us about it in the comments below.  If you need help, drop us a line (here).